Volkswagen CEO: Dieselgate caused by Lynndie England "rogue engineers"; execs blameless

Remember Lynndie England, the 21-year-old low-ranking Army Specialist who, along with ten other low-ranking Army personnel, was determined to be responsible for years of systematic torture in Iraq's notorious Abu Ghraib prison, thus letting the entire Army chain of command off the hook for any wrongdoing in one of the worst scandals of the unbelievably scandalous Iraq War?

Volkswagen execs have found their own Lynndies in their ranks, blaming the Dieselgate scandal — which affected millions of cars sold all over the world, and which resulted in unthinkable, deadly air pollution — on a few "rogue engineers," exonerating its executives for any wrongdoing.

Volkswagen US's CEO Michael Horn tried out this tactic in Congressional testimony on Thursday, saying that the decision to cheat on emissions tests was not made at the corporate level, and was done by "software engineers who put this in for whatever reason."

The company has suspended three Lynndies for their wrongdoing, and insists that the problem was with those three people and possibly a few of their low-ranking colleagues.

Lawmakers were skeptical of his testimony. From Rep Jan Schakowsky (D-IL): "The company's word isn't worth a dime." From Rep Chris Collins (R-NY): "I categorically reject everything VW is saying about a couple of rogue engineers. It goes way, way higher than that."

"On behalf of our company, and my colleagues in Germany, I would like to offer a sincere apology for Volkswagen's use of a software program that served to defeat the regular emissions testing regime," Horn added. Horn was emphatic that there was no internal, executive-level decision to program the emissions software to cheat.

Horn testified that three VW workers have been suspended over the issue and that "this was not a corporate decision" to outfit vehicles to dupe emissions tests…

…When asked how the cheating software worked, Horn said he didn't know. "Personally, no. I'm not an engineer," he said.

VW says rogue engineers, not executives, responsible for emissions scandal
[David Kravets/Ars Technica]